Exploring the Theme of Wish Fulfillment in Women Characters

“I’m really interested in women running away and finding their own happiness and their lives. It’s a theme that appears in all the stories I have written – women just leaving behind the responsibilities that tie them – family, jobs, whatever it is,” shared Kiran Rao during a discussion on her film Laapataa Ladies, which tells the story of two women who get lost and ultimately discover their identities and self-worth. This theme of being laapata is a wish fulfillment theme that resonates in many recent films like Highway, Queen, and English Vinglish.

The concept of losing oneself and finding a truer self provides infinite narratives in films like Queen, Highway, Jab We Met, and Laapataa Ladies. The protagonists in these films find their voice, reject norms, and gain more agency as they escape their familiar scenarios for a life beyond. Writers suggest that women escaping their familiar scenarios for a life beyond can lend itself to dramatic storytelling.

The idea of women running away to find themselves is not new to Indian cinema. It represents a desire to break free from societal shackles and find a better future. Films like Lajja, Jab We Met, and Badrinath Ki Dulhania showcase women who elope in search of self-discovery and empowerment. The so-called safe space of a home is often the most restrictive place for a woman, as highlighted in stories like The Mirror in Lust Stories 2.

Making a fresh start is a theme that resonates with audiences, as it signifies a rebellion against the system and patriarchy, and a chance to fulfill one’s goals and desires. Films like Queen, Jab We Met, and Laapataa Ladies take viewers on a journey of self-discovery and wish fulfillment that many can relate to.

In conclusion, the theme of wish fulfillment in women characters is a powerful and resonant one in Indian cinema, showcasing the strength and resilience of women who choose to break free and find their true selves.


Kiran Rao is an Indian film producer, screenwriter, and director known for her work in Hindi cinema. She was born on November 7, 1973, in Bangalore, India. Rao studied economics at Sophia College in Mumbai and later pursued a Master’s degree in mass communication from Jamia Millia Islamia in New Delhi. She began her career as an assistant director on the film Lagaan and went on to produce critically acclaimed films like Dhobi Ghat and Secret Superstar.

Rao’s directorial debut was with the film Dhobi Ghat, which received praise for its storytelling and performances. She is known for her unique storytelling style and focus on female characters in her films. Rao continues to be a prominent figure in the Indian film industry, advocating for diverse and meaningful representation of women on screen.